• Abstinence - Refraining from drug use.

  • Adolescence - The transition period between puberty and adulthood, i.e. youth.

  • Advocacy - Process of addressing the power imbalances within society

  • Alienation - A social process that creates a feeling of separation between the individual and other members of the community and/or hinders the building of this relationship between the individual and members of the community.

  • AOD - Alcohol and/or other drug(s)

  • Attachment - Attachment refers to a strong emotional relationship. Usually this attachment is between people but it can also exist between a young person and their school or community. Attachment is more likely to occur if the young person performs well in this group and is rewarded for their contributions to the relationship.

  • Autonomous/ autonomy - Independence, self-sufficiency

  • Community - A broad group of people who may live close together (but do not necessarily live in the same area), who share common social structures and goals and engage in a wide range of activities in an interdependent, mutually advantageous, and empowering manner.

  • Community disorganisation - A breakdown in normal community structures characterised by low neighbourhood attachment.

  • Contract - A tool that can be helpful in reinforcing an agreed plan of action between workers and young people. Can be informal (verbal) or formal (written).

  • Depressant - Drugs that slow down the brain and central nervous system.

  • Developmental stage - A stage of growth.

  • Drug - Within the context of this course, a drug is a substance that produces a psycho-active effect which involves changes in mood or behaviour due to alterations in brain function.Top of page

  • Drug dependence - Anyone who relies on and regularly seeks out effects of a drug can be considered to be dependent on that drug to some degree. Drug dependence occurs when a drug becomes central to a person's thoughts, emotions and activities. A dependent person finds it difficult to stop using the drug or even to cut down on the amount used. Dependence has physiological and psychological elements.

  • Dysfunction - Not working in a healthy way. Failure to function normally.

  • External locus of control - A person with an external locus of control believes that their fate is determined by factors beyond their control (e.g. chance). This approach can be healthy when dealing with failure or disaster. It can also be harmful in that it can lead to feelings of helplessness and loss of personal control.

  • Family - Any related (by any bond or role) group of people who share interdependently in the daily tasks of living.

  • Hallucinogens - Drugs that act on the brain to distort perception, i.e. sight, taste, touch, sound, smell

  • Harm minimisation - Harm minimisation is the primary principle underpinning the National Drug Strategy and refers to policies and programs aimed at reducing drug-related harm. It encompasses a wide range of approaches including abstinence-oriented strategies. Both legal and illegal drugs are the focus of Australia's harm minimisation strategy. Harm minimisation includes preventing anticipated harm and reducing actual harm.

  • Harm reduction - Harm reduction aims to reduce the impact of drug related harm on individuals and communities. It includes those strategies designed to reduce the harm associated with drug use without necessarily reducing or stopping use.

  • Health promotion - The process of enabling people to improve their health. It involves a range of activities that are focused on building health public policy, creating supportive environments, strengthening community action, developing personal skills and reorienting health issues.

  • Heterogeneous - Groups that can encompass a range of differences.

  • Homogeneous - Group composed of similar individuals.

  • Impulsiveness - Someone who is impulsive is said to be unable to resist an impulse, drive or temptation to perform certain acts.

  • Interdependence - Mutual contribution to a relationship with shared responsibilities. Interdependence fosters a sense of individuality and creativity and allows risk-taking, but provides a 'safety net' of support.

  • Internal locus of control - If a person believes that they control their own destiny and behaviours, then they are said to have an internal locus of control. This concept is quite important when people make attributions for their behaviours.

  • Intersectoral collaboration - Coordination of interventions by agencies from different sectors or industries

  • Intervention - A purposeful activity designed to prevent, reduce or eliminate AOD use at an individual, family or community level

  • Intoxication - Any change in our perception, mood, thinking processes and motor skills as a result of the impact of a drug(s) on our central nervous system.

  • Marital discord - Characterised by high levels of disagreement between couples often culminating in depression and/or violence and aggression between couples. This impacts on others in the family unit.

  • Negative communication patterns - This is where families or people in relationships get stuck in a cycle of using ineffective communication styles that stifle exchange of information between parties. They often use methods that block communication, such as blaming, criticising, interrogating, judging and bringing up past issues.Top of page

  • Overdose - The use of a drug in an amount that causes acute adverse physical or mental effects. Overdose may produce transient or lasting effects and can sometimes be fatal.

  • Population-based interventions (universal) - Interventions aimed at particular groups of the population, for example youth.

  • Protective factors - Protective factors are those factors that enhance the coping abilities of a young person thus increasing active participation in community activities and decreasing susceptibility to adverse consequences.

  • Resilience - Ability of an individual to face particular difficulties (such as abusive situations, living in poor conditions and having a non supportive family), yet not necessarily go on to develop problem/risk behaviours. It describes the capacity of a person to respond in a positive way to the risks, stresses, and adversities of life.

  • Risk factors - Factors that hinder adolescent development, limit coping abilities thus increasing susceptibility to social, behavioural and health problems.

  • Stimulants - Drugs that speed up the brain and nervous system

  • Withdrawal symptoms - Symptoms that can occur when a person using a drug over a prolonged period reduces or ceases use.